Case Studies

14 December 2022

Battens Solicitors has achieved a judgment at trial for one of its clients in a complex, long running commercial dispute concerning high-value industrial machinery.

The legal issue

The purchaser of the machine sued Battens’ client alleging multiple breaches of contract. A dispute arose concerning what had actually been agreed between the Claimant and Battens’ client (particularly whether the machine was to be ‘good as new’), what if anything those terms meant, and whether the machine was of a satisfactory quality.

The case presented a number of significant problems for Battens’ client. The first was that the sale and purchase had been negotiated over a matter of weeks and largely over the phone, and it was not clear what had actually been agreed.

When the second-hand machine was delivered, it was obviously not good as new, and on top of that it broke down several times within a few weeks of being delivered. Furthermore, it did not perform to the same level as a brand-new machine would have done.

The Solution.

Through a painstaking reconstruction of the narrative, using the documentary evidence and piecing together the arguments, Battens were able to identify the weaknesses in the Claimant’s case and to identify the key evidence that was needed. For instance, the initial discussions between parties regarding the sale had been oral but the Claimant’s Managing Director had noted the agreed terms down in his diary. The diary note had not been disclosed, so Battens sought its disclosure.

How Battens made a difference

The Claimant claimed a full refund of the purchase price plus damages for the expenditure it incurred in attempting to get the machine working as it believed it should. In total, the Claimant claimed £85,000 from Battens’ client plus interest and costs. The Claimant also threatened to claim another £200,000 in lost profit.

Battens’ client made a counterclaim, seeking payment of the unpaid 10% of the purchase price.

The Court had to decide what had been agreed and whether the machine was of a satisfactory quality. Battens presented a comprehensive case on all the issues, ensured the Court focussed on the key evidence (and where relevant the lack of evidence), and through negotiation with the Claimant’s solicitors ensured that the Claimant was unable to prove its case. The end result was that following a week-long trial, the customer’s claim was dismissed, and Battens’ client was awarded judgment for the full amount it claimed plus costs.

For assistance in resolving commercial disputes, please contact Peter Livingstone 01935 846235